Just for your perusal...
I posted this on the USMA forum but it's just as applicable here...
I wanted to pass this along. It's a "short story" about one of my most favorite people: Captain Chad Harmon, USMA '03.
I met Chad when he expressed an interest in attending the USAFA during his freshman year of HS. He was the "all America kid next door" with EVERYTHING you could want. In a uniform he's a male model, poster child of the fit, good looking nordic type...and just a heckuva guy. State champion baseball pitcher, etc...etc...etc...he had everything going for him and impressed all who met him.
You all are very much like him in your goals and aspirations, so you know what I mean.
Chad was nominated to USAFA his senior year and all looked great...EXCEPT his SAT/ACT scores. They were good...as an ALO (admission liaison officer for USAFA) I know "about what it'll take" but not always precisely. And Chad was CLOSE...oh so close...
But he didn't get accepted. He did however receive a 4-year ROTC full-scholarship. Which he took to Embry Riddle in Florida. I assumed that was the last I'd hear of Chad. You have to understand...he comes from a small (really small) mining town in the mountains of Arizona...male model type...put him in So Florida...I figured the "beach scene" would kill him.
So when he called and said: "So sir, what do I do to get to USAFA now?" I was amazed. To shorten the story...his congressman remembered him well, and said he wouldn't have to fly back to AZ from FL for the nomination interview...he'd nominate him automatically! And he did!!!
To West Point!!!!
(pause here to imagine a young man of 19 crying like a 2 year old when his lollipop is taken away).
His words to me were akin to: "What do I do now...it's over...my whole goal, plans, etc...all over."
I asked Chad: "What is it you REALLY want to do? Forget the academy...what is it that YOU REALLY want to do?"
His answer, which I remember to this day: "Sir...I want to be an officer of the armed forces of the United States and to serve my country."
Yes, really; those were his words at age 19.
My only answer was: "And West Point's a bad place for this because???"
Chad graduated with high honors from West Point in 2003 and went to helo school at Ft Rucker, choosing to fly Blackhawks because he liked the idea of special operations and rescue.
He has recently converted to the RC-12N (fixed wing recce) and is excelling in the US Army aviation world.
Folks...if you get the word that it's "...not this year..." do NOT be discouraged from your ultimate goal! I use Chad as an example a LOT...
And now you know why!
If you want it bad enough, you can achieve it!!!
Steve Wood, Lt Col, USAFR
Deputy Liaison Officer Director for Arizona